The family of a woman whose corpse was allegedly molested by a Los Angeles police officer in 2019 filed suit Tuesday against the city and the officer.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), 27-year-old David Rojas and another officer were investigating the overdose death of Elizabeth Baggett near Skid Row last year. Prosecutors allege Rojas attempted to turn off his body camera and groped the dead woman’s breasts, unaware that the camera was still recording.
The woman’s mother, Janet Baggett, was joined Tuesday by attorney Gloria Allred in announcing the suit.
“I am infuriated that this man had so little respect for another human being, our Elizabeth, for not having the thought that she was someone’s daughter, granddaughter and mother,” Baggett said. “We, her family, have sleepless nights, if we are able to sleep. I personally wake in sweats from the nightmares that haunt me about the events of Elizabeth’s death. Days are not much better.”
Baggett’s family is suing for invasion of privacy, emotional distress, mishandling of human remains and violation of civic duties. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages.
“There must be accountability to this family for this shameful course of conduct,” Allred said.
“What an officer from the LAPD did to Elizabeth must never happen again.”
A representative for the City Attorney’s Office said the case would be reviewed, but there would be no further comment.
Rojas, a four-year veteran of the LAPD, was assigned to the downtown-area Central Division at the time of the alleged crime. He has since been placed on leave.
Earlier this year, Rojas plead not guilty to a felony charge of having sexual contact with human remains without authority. If convicted as charged, Rojas could face up to three years in prison.